Two high-level strikers clash in the featherweight division at UFC 281 when Italian-American Michael “The Lone Wolf” Trizano takes on South Korea’s Seung Woo Choi, dubbed “Sting” for his laser-like boxing.
Trizano, who trains out of Tiger Schulmann and earned his shot in the UFC by winning the Ultimate Fighter season 27, has already earned notable wins against Luis Pena and L’udovit Klein; however, he is coming off of a two-fight skid to Hakeem Dawodu and Lucas Almeida.
Choi, likewise, is coming off a pair of losses, his to Joshua Culibao and Alex Cacares but having previously beaten Julian Erosa by KO in a career-high performance. In order to get back onto that track, he must get past Trizano in impressive fashion.
Michael Trizano will come in as an underdog at +130. He has been the favorite to win in just one of his UFC fights and was the underdog in both of his UFC wins.
Both of these men have skills in all areas of the fight game, but both tend to have a preference for striking. Michael Trizano stands orthodox with great boxing which he chains knees onto very well in combination. It is notable that he sometimes demonstrates a slight slowness in reactions so he does far better when he is pressing forward and leading the exchanges rather than sitting back and countering. Against particularly fast strikers he struggles when they can execute in-and-out movement giving him little opportunity to counter, but also overwhelms these same fighters if he is the one moving forward. His leading footwork is seamless with his boxing, stepping and sliding out left to set up his power shots on the right or gliding forward and mixing his boxing between the head and body are especially impressive. When watching him fight, the techniques to look out for include a very solid left hook and a good teep that he will need against a rangy striker like Choi.
Seung Woo Choi is a very tall fighter for the division but will only enjoy about an inch and a half over Trizano. That being said, he has developed a very good long boxing style, especially his sniping right cross that has incredible power to it. He has had his most success with countering the left kick and setting up his left hook, although this is less available against Trizano as he is likewise a conventional fighter rather than southpaw. If Trizano looks to switch up his stance at any time though, watch for the cross. Choi also has a great right head kick that seemingly comes from nowhere as he has very little wind up to it, so it catches opponents off guard often.
Both men have awesome skills in terms of grappling but also evident holes in their game. Choi is good technically but because it is not second nature in the same way striking is due to his background in Muay Thai, he falters in longer chain wrestling scenarios but does well in short bursts. Where he is most dangerous is on the back when he can take advantage of his long limbs, he transitions to the body triangle almost nonchalantly due to how smooth it is, and he is difficult to shake. Trizano has solid wrestling and excels at putting people on the fence, even if he cannot take them down from there. Being able to work his way in and keep Choi’s back pinned is an important safety net if he finds himself having to deal with Choi’s power or needing to take his reach away. Trizano lacks something in his guard, opponents in the past have been able to pass somewhat easily relative to some other fighters around him but he has been able to scrabble and wrestle back for the most part.
I do believe most of the fight will be contested on the feet, with Choi’s striking coming off a bit sharper from one extra half-step away. As the fight drags on, however I think Trizano’s chances rise, he tends to settle into his groove after a round or so, and when overwhelmed, Choi has been known to put his head down and swing back when he could rather reset and work outside.
That being said, when they are both fresh, I see Choi dominating more of the exchanges and having the technical ability to counter and take control of openings if Trizano is forced to level change out of desperation or having to charge in an attempt to bridge the gap and put Choi on the fence, I think Choi has elbows to work in these scenarios and ultimately wins the fight.
Prediction: Seung Woo Choi to win (bet now at MyBookie)